Lifestyle

One man, one dog, one cabin: the 12-year trip of digging mount of Abu, the hermit

Abu calls his Xanadu "Ruoding Mountain". In fact, its real name is "Wild Boar Gou", which is located at the foot of Gongga Snow Mountain in the conch ditch scenic spot in Ganzi Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

This article was originally writen by the Chinese wechat media Rearview mirror of earth (人间后视镜) and translated by PandaYoo.com after it was licensed. Copyright belongs to the original author and it is forbidden to reprint without permission.

It took him more than ten years to start from scratch.Overcome many unimaginable difficulties.Turn the once unknown remote mountains into a paradise.

The leather-faced woolen vest is Abu’s favorite dress, though it is so old and dirty. With loose trousers and a pair of sturdy hiking boots, it is his unique dressing style.

Dressed in such a way, carrying fresh food materials and tools on his shoulder, the short video of Abu begins. He left a figure behind the camera, in front of which was a snow-capped mountain, and there was a cabin under the snow-capped mountain. He went to the cabin, followed by his partner, Sheila.

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Abu on the video cover of Kuaishou

This is the cabin he built. He likes to live surrounded by flowers, so he dug up small purple wildflowers from the mountain and planted roses, which would surround the house when it was in full bloom. There is a small pond in front of the house, which was dug by himself. He calls it “the sea”. Sheila usually drinks water here.

The first floor is a small bar. The wooden wine cabinet is full of all kinds of wine bottles, the hall is surrounded by several tables, surrounded by large glass windows, the scenery outside the house has a panoramic view, you can roast the fire and look at the stars at night. Abu lives on the second floor, and there is a large balcony outside the room where you can enjoy afternoon tea in the sun.

Compared to Abu’s delicious food, hundreds of thousands of fans envy him as if he were living in a paradise. “Longing life” and “dream house” are the most common messages.

But Abu knows how hard it is to have such ideal life. He started from scratch, spent more than a decade, overcome many unimaginable difficulties, and turned the once unknown remote mountains into such a paradise.

2
Xanadu built by Abu

Abu calls hismanor “the Ruoding Mountain”. In fact, its real name is “Wild Boar Gou”, where is located at the foot of Gongga Snow Mountain in the Hailuogou scenic spot in Ganzi Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

Here you can soak in hot springs in the snow in winter, watch fireflies flying in the dense primeval forest in summer, and glacier waterfalls pouring down from the high valleys. The Hailuogou is as beautiful as a fairy tale world. Ruoding Mountain was once an undeveloped mountain in this fairy tale world.

I don’t want a life that I can see through at a glance

Abu’s home is in Baiyangping Village at the foot of Ruoding Mountain. He grew up on the back of the mountain. His parents are both simple farmers. At the age of eleven, Abu began to work with his eldest brother and father to earn money. At first, he collected medicine and dug up Cordyceps Sinensis in the mountains, earning three or five yuan a day. At the age of 14, when he found a slider by the side of the road, he went to the scenic spot to serve as a tourist reception, lifting adults two heads taller than himself up and down the mountain at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters for four years.

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Abu uses a slider to carry tourists up the mountain

One year during the National Day holiday, Abu and his father earned more than a thousand yuan, which was a huge sum for the young Abu.

Abu remembers that day was snowing lightly. He and his father each bought a five-yuan Guokui (a cake-shaped snack) and sat in the woods to have a rest. The sun shone in through the cracks in the trees, and his father’s sweat-soaked clothes rose in a fog, wrapping the weather-beaten man.

The wind chilled the father and son, and Abu shivered as he watched his father eat Guokui with his arms on his knees. This scene made him a little sour. “What this man looks like now maybe what I’m going to experience in the future.”

Abu wants to change and make life better for himself and his family.The first bold attempt was to open the first bar in town. At that time, Abu only had the money saved by lifting tourists, which was not enough. His parents didn’t understand his idea, but they still borrowed a small loan of two or three thousand yuan for him. He was only seventeen years old, and three thousand yuan was a lot of money: “I’m under a lot of pressure. I’m afraid I can’t afford it.”Fortunately, Abu is strong-willed and strong in execution. He described his mood at that time as follows: “if you decide to do something, you must work hard, no matter how you must go to the end.” “Abu rented an old house of 100 square meters in Moxi town with this money, and the rent was 1,800 yuan a year. He worked as a team leader in the scenic spot during the day to earn money, and at night he transformed the old house into a bar.

The bar should become what he likes, with wooden tables and chairs neatly and crowded in the hall, a large area of wooden-framed glass windows on the street side, and a row of green plants outside the window, lush and full of vitality.

Opposite the town is Gongga Mountain, more than 7,000 meters above sea level, the highest snow mountain in Sichuan. As a team leader, Abu often took people to camp in the mountains. At that time, there were four camps in the scenic area, with elevations rising in turn, and Camp 4 reached 3500 meters above sea level. Tourists stay away from the world in the camp, eating, drinking, resting, and dreaming. Abu hopes that his bar can also become such a place so that people have space and time to enjoy the future.

“If I want to do it, I have to be the highest camp in Gongga.” Symbolically, Abu named the bar at the foot of the mountain Camp Seven.

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old photo of Camp 7 Bar

After the bar was renovated and officially opened, Abu learned to mix drinks and chat with tourists about the firefly forest in Hailuogou and share each other’s longing life. It’s nice to be a bar owner, but he still needs to be a slippery pole guide to maintain the bar’s business.

When Abu is not worried about making a living, he finds that he, who has changed his way of living, is still passively waiting for this life to move forward. Like that snowing noon , seeing his tired father, he thought of his life in his fifties and sixties.

“I don’t want to spend a lot of time in a job I’m stuck with.” Abu has to explore another life.

To see the bigger world

Although Abu’s start-up has been successful, his parents are still worried about his unstable state. They hope that Abu can continue to go to school and lead a stable life as a civil servant.In line with the idea of going out to have a look, but also in order not to let his parents continue to worry, Abu left Hailuogou and continued his study.After studying in higher vocational education for half a year, Abu saw the news of the adult self-examination in Chengdu University and thought that since he wanted to study, he might as well go to a good university to feel it. Unexpectedly, a low achiever exceeded the admission line by more than 150 points and was admitted by the computer information management major of Chengdu University.

“I didn’t go to high school. When I got this notice, I thought I had to go to college to feel it.” Abu always had a sense of curiosity, wanting to see the wider world and trying things he had never experienced before, which pushed him to Chengdu.

Like most rural youth, Abu was at a loss when he first came to the city. He had never seen an elevator and walked in with the crowd but didn’t know to press the button. He did not quite understand what was discussed by the students around him, or he could not participate in it because he could barely understand it. The more Abu feels the gap between himself and his classmates, he has some inferiority complex and doesn’t want to talk more about the situation at home.

Only by talking about his hometown and the beauty of Hailuogou can Abu briefly extricate himself from this sense of inferiority.

5
low altitude glacier in Hailuogou

“I didn’t go to high school.” His knowledge was out of joint, and learning the C language of programming made Abu feel very difficult. “I don’t even understand ABCD.” The extremely difficult learning process and the insurmountable knowledge gap broke Abu’s illusions about the university and his hopes for himself, and he began to doubt whether he should stay.When the students discussed where to play happily at the weekend, Abu was thinking about what part-time job he would do. Handing out flyers and selling mobile phones in stores, all of which have been done by Abu. Although he majored in computer science, Abu was not familiar with electronic products. He couldn’t tell what those parameters meant. He was often asked by customers and scolded a lot.

Handing out leaflets on the street and watching people come and go in the street, Abu couldn’t help thinking about how he would survive if he stayed here. Probably can only start from the bottom of things, to be a migrant worker, to hand out leaflets, or to be a salesman, and completely amateur. He doesn’t see the possibility of taking root here.

Thinking about his past experience, Abu thought it would be better to go back and do what he was good at. He felt the call from his hometown as if he saw the spark of his dream lit up in Hailuogou.

Although he has no money, he is willing to live an ideal life

After barely finishing college, Abu returned to his hometown to continue to work as a bar owner and tourist guide, constantly thinking about where he would go in the future.

In 2008, Abu met a girl. To fulfill their agreement to “build a cabin under the stars”, he wanted to build a house on the top of Mount Ruoding, with a place to lie down and look at the stars.

At the same time, Abu also has an insight into the limitations of the tourism industry in Hailuogou. He wanted to make a new thing that Hailuogou did not have today-a place for young people to visit over and over again. There should be a lot of interesting people here, with humanistic feelings, like a utopia. The concept that he was going to run a residential accommodation has gradually taken shape.

6
cabin under the stars

Abu thinks he has his own ideas from an early age and never goes with the flow. He considered his own situation comprehensively. First of all, he had a certain income. Secondly, he had a flexible mind and knew how to publicize and market. Although Abu was not rich and needs to borrow money to maintain his business, he invested everything he had: time, energy, and money, just like he decided to open a bar.Abu followed the name of the bar and called the hostel “Camp No. 7 in Mount Ruoding”. The name “Ruoding Mountain” was also established at this time. He likes the movie Notting Hill and yearns for the love between the big star Anna and the small bookstore owner William across regions and classes, and is moved by the warmth and romance of this true affection. He fantasized that he would encounter such a romantic story.

Abu feels that the new name gives new meaning. Ruoding Mountain gives the mountain a new story: in Chinese, the “Ruo” of “Ruoding” is the “Nuo” of “Notting” without “character”, which represents the hypothesis and unknown, which means that many seemingly impossible things can be achieved in this place. The ideas in your mind can take root and sprout here, blossom, and bear fruit.

The name “Abu” was also chosen at that time. His original name is Chen Jianyong, a common name that is not surprising. People in the village call him Chen Erwa, which is even more rustic. The name is the way he wraps himself: “remind others of being a local, and then simply remember me as a person, probably an outline, an image, or a style.”

The cabin was difficult to build. There is no road on Mount Ruoding, so all materials can only be purchased at the foot of the mountain and carried up the mountain one by one. Abu and his friends spent two or three months building a scribbled starry house. The house is small, only ten square meters, the foundation, and beams are made of wood, and the roof is simply covered with transparent plastic boards. The four walls are pieced together with boards, and there are still many gaps between the irregular boards, which will leak air.

7
the first cabin built by Abu

But Abu and his buddies were so excited that they roasted chicken in the house, drank wine, looked at the starry sky overhead, and imagined what the future would look like.

Abu said he wanted to bring tourists here to experience a free life, to let more people know about the place, to build a road up the mountain, to make a lot of money, to make a good life for his parents, and to imagine what kind of girl he would find to be his wife in the future. Abu talked a lot that night, and they talked for a long time until the smoke blacked the whole roof.

Youth is dedicated to a mountain

When the cabin was built, energy supply became an urgent problem that Abu and his friends racked their brains. Without electricity, Abu pulled the wire from the hillside 3 kilometers away, bringing the dawn of life to the whole hilltop. No access road, Abu and eldest brother borrowed an excavator from the town and built it bit by bit every day. It took more than two months for the first road in the mountain to take shape.

8
building roads in the mountains

The newly dug road could not bear the load, and they asked all the villagers up and down the mountain to carry stones and pull stones every day. They overhauled the road six times before and after. It took five months to pave about five kilometers road, and the car was finally able to reach the top of the mountain.

Seeing that the villagers no longer had to get up at four o’clock in the morning to carry grass and pull it home in a cart, Abu felt that what he had done was so meaningful.

The problem of water is the most intractable. Abu and his friends were shuttling around the mountains and cliffs with dry food on their backs in search of water. For the first time, he found a water source of about three kilometers, and the flow was very small, but Abu insisted on pulling the pipe to draw the water up. Half a month later, the water really flowed to the top of the mountain, and they were so happy that the eldest brother joked that he wanted to run naked again. It was a ceremony for them to express their hearts freely and unrestrained.

In winter, however, the water dries up and everything has to start all over again. Everyone was discouraged, but Abu didn’t want to give up: “We’ve been gambling for so long, why can’t we do it again?” Unable to stand up to the passion of Abu, the companions began to try to find water again.

Finally, on the edge of a cliff five kilometers away, they found water. The current is so low that ordinary water pipes always burst. Abu carried a large water tank much taller than people from the bottom of the mountain and moved it to the hillside with a roll to help divert water.

9
carrying buckets up the hill

That day, Abu worked all day without eating a bite. He and his father walked slowly down the hill in the dark with flashlights. Just halfway up the mountain, he suddenly received a phone call from his eldest brother, saying that the water seemed to flow to it. Abu was so excited that he rushed straight to the top of the mountain. It took only more than 20 minutes to run a few kilometers of the mountain road, completely forgetting his tiredness and hunger.

Abu leaned over the hose and pressed his ear to hear the gurgle of the water. After more than a month’s attempt to divert water, the first drop of water finally reached the top of the mountain. Abu couldn’t hold back his tears.

On the night that the top of the mountain was flooded, Abu dug a small pond overnight, named it “the sea”, raised some fish in it, and planted many flowers on the edge of the pond. Abu would go to the pond every day to see the fish swimming around and would pick up a hose to water the grass on the hillside and feed the leisurely cattle.

Seeing that the cattle, trees, flowers, and plants on the mountain can all enjoy the water, seeing that the difficulties in life at Camp 7 in Ruoding Mountain have been solved step by step, the lives of the villagers down the mountain have also improved, and they can really grow fish and flowers on the mountain. Abu feels that everything has not been in vain.

10
Abu dug the “sea” all night

Thanks to the efforts of Abu and his companions, Camp 7 on Mount Ruoding became famous among tourists. At that time, the form of residential accommodation was still very new in Sichuan. He started early, developed rapidly, and knew how to operate, so he made a lot of gains. Abu does not compare the facilities and hardware of residential accommodation with others. “We are doing culture, making our own expression,” he said. “

The stories of Abu and Ruoding Mountain are known by more and more people, and Moxi Town and Hailuogou are more and more in the eyes of tourists. Abu feels that he has achieved most of his goals.

Press pause to find the meaning of life again

In 2015, a director came to Ruoding Mount to shoot a documentary, which gave Abu some inspiration. He came up with the idea of making a story about himself and the mount. In August 2017, when Ruoding Mountain was almost renovated, Abu decided it was time to put the idea of making a movie into practice. On the one hand, he could record his entrepreneurial story through movies, promote his hometown of Moxi Town and Hailuogou, on the other hand, he could try new things and discover his potential and possibility in terms of cultural brand.

Abu doesn’t know anything about the film industry. He posted online that he wanted to make a film about youth, inspiration, and love, contacting interested studios, investors, and producers to persuade them to come to Ruoding Mountain to have a look.

Some people thought that was pointless, others didn`t agree with Abu’s idea and thought it was impossible, but Abu didn`t want to give up. After repeated denials and attempts, Abu was approved by a producer in October 2017, and film production was put on the agenda. After more than a year of incubation, the film “Your World” based on Abu was officially launched in Hailuogou in October 2018.

It took more than a month, but on the day the film was finished at the end of 2018, Abu posted a Wechat moment: “I met a lot of people and a lot of things along the way, but I always believe that as long as you have a dream and work hard, everything will come true.”

11
film shooting team

After filming, Abu’s start-up reached a peak or a bottleneck.

Higher popularity and increasingly heavy work made Abu feel a bit sudden, busied with different people every day, doing a lot of trivial things, and even didn`t have time to cook a meal for himself. Abu said: “I was too busy and there were so many people that I disrupted my own rhythm and had no life. I need to have a life of my own, and I don’t want to give everything to others. “

On December 23, 2019, Abu posted a moment saying, “the cabin is closed this year, I want to have a rest”, suspended the external operation of Camp No. 7 on Mount Ruoding, and started a life of one person and one dog in the cabin on the mountain.

Abu got up every morning and went for a walk in the mountains, cooking, farming, planting flowers, herding cattle, and walking the dog. At night, when there was no one in the mountain, he lay in a daze in the cabin, or made a fire, listened to the music and drank some wine while keeping warm, looked back at his past experience, and thought about what he should do later.

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Abu makes a fire on the mountain to keep warm

It was also during this period that Abu began to share his life on Kuaishou.At first, it was a video of cooking, one person, one dog, one meal, comfortable and beautiful. Slowly, he filmed more and more content, including running bars, renovating cabins, paving roads, walking dogs, herding cattle, traveling, and so on. “A lot of things happen in my real life every day, and I want to record it with my quick hand,” Abu said.

Abu, 32, feels that he has calmed down. Before the age of 24, he could not bear to be lonely and liked drinking, smoking, and taking part in the fun. Now, he refuses to socialize, thinking that the quieter and simpler life on the mountain is better. He enjoys the feeling that he is comfortable in the mountains.

It’s just that such a life of seclusion is by no means the end of Abu. Recently, Abu plans to start a new exploration again. He said that he was not a very down-to-earth person and must not standstill. He has a lot of ideas and likes to try everywhere. After this half-year rest and recuperation, he will gradually carry out new entrepreneurial projects and seek new opportunities.

However, he also said that Ruoding Mountain is his own root, in any case, he will come back to this place.

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